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5 things that ACTUALLY threaten the American people (and Russia is not one)

America is not threatened by Russia, Iran or North Korea, it is threatened by endless war, terrorism, identity politics, poor economic decisions and a fear of peace.

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The following is a list of REAL threats to the American people, not America’s financial interests, not its elites, but threats to the lives and prosperity of everyday people in all 50 states.

1. International terrorism 

By its definition, international terrorism is a danger to the entire planet. From long-wolf psychopaths with weapons or weaponised devises (such as trucks or cars) to organised gangs of saboteurs or militants including ISIS, al-Qaeda and those of an FSA jihadist mindset, this is a danger that not only effects Americans but people in Syria, Iraq, Russia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, France, Germany, Libya, Nigeria, Belgium, Holland, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and these are just some recent examples of places and nationalities targeted by terrorists.

Donald Trump has shown some hopeful signs in understanding the essence of fighting international terrorism, though they still remain incomplete.

The key element in fighting terrorism is not to have a foreign policy which funds, arms or politically encourages terrorism. Trump’s stoppage of the CIA’s programme (begun under Obama) to arm jihadists in Syria is a small step in the right direction.

America either leaving Syria or fighting terrorism alongside the coalition led by the legitimate government of Syria is another important step. The deal to jointly enforce a ceasefire in south-western Syria along with Syrian coalition member Russia is again, a small but incomplete step in the right direction.

The second step is to close borders to those without clear documents or intentions, or those from known terrorist breeding grounds. Again, Trump has emphasised the right points here, although the countries that ought to be on the list should include places like Saudi Arabia to name just one.

After this, all that remains is good old fashioned policing, something that Trump also seems to be in favour of. Censorship of free speech is never the answer and Trump would appear to be staying away from such bogus solutions to fighting terrorism, something which separates him from corrupt European leaders.

2. Constant war 

The wars America has fought over the last decades have done far more to harm the American people than they have helped them or anyone else in the world.

The illegal war on Yugoslavia in 1999 has enabled a terrorist organisation called the KLA to occupy the Serbian province of  Kosovo and Metohija which under its rule is now a breeding ground for groups like ISIS. The same is increasingly true of America’s regional puppet state, the Republic of Albania.

The war in Iraq turned a country which was a sworn enemy of jihadist groups into the place where al-Qaeda became stronger than ever and the place where ISIS was born.

Libya, once a country that cooperated  with the US against al-Qaeda and similar groups is now a failed state built on the world’s largest terrorist training camp.

Of course one can go back to the 1980s where the US funded Osama bin-Laden’s Mujaheddin which morphed into al-Qaeda.

All of these wars have made the world less stable, have created many opportunities for terrorists and in the process have got many American military personnel killed for no good reason.

These wars have also cost the United States billions of Dollars that could have been spent at home on anything from roads, airports and schools to healthcare or investment in new technology.

Even if all the money spent on foreign wars was dropped over Times Square in New York for people to shove into their pockets, this too would have been a far better way to spend the money as at least then, the man and woman on the street could stimulate the economy by spending the money in shops or investing in their own business.

When Donald Trump campaigned for POTUS, he seemed to understand this. It is not clear if he is still willing to speak about such things.

Just because some terrorists in Albania or fanatics in Israel want the US to fight wars they are incapable or afraid of fighting, does not mean it is to the benefit of the American people. In each case, these wars have been disasters for all involved.

3. A fear of peace 

Few American leaders speak of peace as a virtue or value. One hears words like “freedom, democracy, liberty, the American way”, but little about peace.

Without peace, nothing else is possible. Peace is the most fundamental value that allows all humans, no matter where in the world they are, to live the best possible lives for themselves and their fellow human beings.

Without an emphasis on genuine peace, American democracy is under threat from candidates that promise their own people and those beyond that which is unattainable without peace.

Until peace because a positive word in the American lexicon, there is little hope that voters and politicians will be able to make informed decisions about the world.

America could learn a great deal from Russia in this respect as Russia leaders speak constantly of peace and the need to avoid war due to Russia’s long history of being invaded by menacing foes.

READ MORE: Here’s why Victory Day on the 9th of May is a deeply important occasion for Russians

4. Poor economic decisions 

Economic decisions that favour elite Wall Street corporatists rather than the average person are a threat to America’s prosperity. From Bill Clinton’s signing of NAFTA which saw factories leaving the United States, to policies which bail out big companies without forcing them to re-invest on US soil and in the US worker and finally with sanctions which make America a hostile rather than an attractive business environment, the average American is now more distant from the country’s wealth than at any time in recent history.

Again, during the election, candidate Trump seemed to get this, but his hands are being increasingly tied on the matter.

5. Identity politics/sectarianism 

While Russia, Iran and North Korea do not pose a treat to the life, liberty or happiness of the American people, identity politics and the sectarian society it builds, threatens the very fabric of American society and could even threaten American nationhood itself.

America is a nation of immigrants, but it is one where all people no matter their mother tongue, religion, ethnicity or appearance spoke English (as the language of common and public speech), respected the same basic laws, paid the same taxes irrespective of background and did their best to live and let live.

Now though, groups of agitated people representing every obscure sect, including invented sects, believe they are uniquely entitled to shut down the free speech of others, take the state for a ride irrespective of the legality of their presence in America and have specific laws which apply to them irrespective of how obscure their lifestyles or backgrounds are, not that their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was ever threatened in the first place.

Donald Trump won because he said, ‘we are all Americans’, not anything more or less. Hillary Clinton by contrast associated her campaign with every sect imaginable as if the United States was the Ottoman Empire while its millet system wherein each sect had their own unique laws, restrictions and tax regimes.

For those who believe that identity politics and sectarianism are an annoyance rather than an actual threat to the United States, I would advise such a person to study the history of the Lebanese Civil War which raged between 1975 and 1990.

Prior to 1975, Lebanon was among the most peaceful, multi-cultural countries in the world. It was famed for its high living standards and excellent architecture and natural environment.

But the combination of increasingly divisive internal politics and the presence of foreign refugees that the country couldn’t cope with led to civil war. As the war raged on, Lebanon was invaded and occupied by a nuclear power, Israel and the state was on the verge of total collapse. It is no small miracle that such a state as Lebanon still exists after the constant war and occupation it has endured.

Is this really the future America wants for itself?

If not, Americans should either force their existing politics to focus on these priorities or else start a new political party that will do so.

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1. International terrorism
2. Constant war
3. A fear of peace
4. Poor economic decisions
5. Identity politics/sectarianism

In four words : Only Americans threaten Americans.

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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